Everyday is Women’s Day

…but last Monday was a holiday.

Belated congratulations to my college friend, Marissa who was recently honored by the White House (she is the one next to Arne)! She is a catalyst for change in America, and I am lucky to know a confident and altruistic woman in the United States!

Monday was another South African Holiday/Day of observance. On August 9, 1956 about 20,000 women protested at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The catalyst of the protest was the Population Registration Act, as known as “the Pass Laws” where black South African were required to carry an internal passport (or pass) to maintain apartheid rule. What is remarkable about this protest is that women from all races participated and it was one of the largest protests in South African history.

For the occasion, the Peace Corps South Africa facebook page is honoring the PCV ladies. I feel very grateful to have a network of incredible women PCVs in North/Central KZN. These women are resilient (deal with harassment and for some racism on a regular basis) intelligent, and open to South Africa’s lessons. They serve as great mentors.

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Yet my pride surges when I contemplate the women of my valley. Women clean, cook, take care of children, and basically maintain the household. In the case of my wonderful host Mom, she is the main teacher of the school and while juggling the duties as a year 3 teacher, attends workshops often. Last week she was in Shopping Town until late every night, but still came home to be a gogo. I also think of my sister who goes to Pretty City every Saturday to finish her education classes and my gogo who spent most of her life under apartheid. Outside of my family, my org’s caregivers watch over their neighbors as well as their families.

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A phrase that came out the initial Woman’s protest was:

Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.

These rocks has kept South Africa alive through dark times. They will continue to propel South Africa forward.

All the best,

Katey-Red

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